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Upcycle Time: Half Shopping, Half Photo Safari

Updated on August 10, 2015

Some kind of ornamental storage cylinder for a desk.

Whoever got this for a present never figured out what to use it for.
Whoever got this for a present never figured out what to use it for.

Looks like Wall-E, doesn't it?

This red air popcorn popper has been at this store so long I'm starting to feel sorry for it. I actually bought another air popper on the same shelf as this one, a month or so ago, to parch corn.
This red air popcorn popper has been at this store so long I'm starting to feel sorry for it. I actually bought another air popper on the same shelf as this one, a month or so ago, to parch corn.

I considered buying this small metal scoop.

But it was pretty small and even frowning to help myself think didn't give me any ideas about what might need scooped up at home.
But it was pretty small and even frowning to help myself think didn't give me any ideas about what might need scooped up at home.

Today there were a lot of very bright things.

The kitchen-items area had the colors of a preschol play area on this visit.
The kitchen-items area had the colors of a preschol play area on this visit.

No idea what this is, but there are two parts.

And it plugs in.
And it plugs in.

Saucepan from my parents' era.

This handle seemed unusually long to me, with an interesting curve.
This handle seemed unusually long to me, with an interesting curve.

Yet another rejected, shiny gift

I wonder if anyone would actually buy this, and if they did, if they would actually put Jim Beam or any other liquor in it.
I wonder if anyone would actually buy this, and if they did, if they would actually put Jim Beam or any other liquor in it.

Plaster model of a homemade birthday cake

Somebody call the Cake Wrecks people.
Somebody call the Cake Wrecks people.

Comes with its own.. . .knife thing.

Why is this perforated with large holes? Is it made to stuff hot peppers, and you put the peppers in the holes to keep them in place? Or is the tray shape not a pepper at all but a fruit? An eggplant? I am baffled.
Why is this perforated with large holes? Is it made to stuff hot peppers, and you put the peppers in the holes to keep them in place? Or is the tray shape not a pepper at all but a fruit? An eggplant? I am baffled.

There were two of these.

Both metallic, flexible. Not chopping mats. I don't think.
Both metallic, flexible. Not chopping mats. I don't think.

Tomatoes or apples?

These patio lights are one of the many, many, many things at the SoPo Goodwill which are shaped like vegetables or fruits or berries.
These patio lights are one of the many, many, many things at the SoPo Goodwill which are shaped like vegetables or fruits or berries.

Open-mouth singers are a thrift store meme

Singing or yawning, many figurines have open mouths.
Singing or yawning, many figurines have open mouths.

Oversize or undersize.

Giant keys, giant salad forks, tiny vehicles -- all often found at Goodwill. Today there was a stack of tiny baseball caps.
Giant keys, giant salad forks, tiny vehicles -- all often found at Goodwill. Today there was a stack of tiny baseball caps.

More faux veggies and fruits

When I moved these net-bagged items, I discovered this was a scented sachet thing. Floral, not fruity. Cough, cough.
When I moved these net-bagged items, I discovered this was a scented sachet thing. Floral, not fruity. Cough, cough.

Gitter and a frog.

I liked this frog. I've seen giant versions of the glitter fruit thing at Marden's. Like the size of my head, that big.
I liked this frog. I've seen giant versions of the glitter fruit thing at Marden's. Like the size of my head, that big.

Thrift store shelf tableau #4378.

Bujnny surrounded by bright tourist shop items.
Bujnny surrounded by bright tourist shop items.

I see a faint Alexander Calder influence.

Orffice supplies or early 1970s wire sculpture? You decide.
Orffice supplies or early 1970s wire sculpture? You decide.

It's not just the perspective of the photo.

The bunny is huge or the man from the Gorton's frozen fish package is small.
The bunny is huge or the man from the Gorton's frozen fish package is small.

It's Maine, after all.

Goodwill here is full of nautical and sea-themed gift shop items. Lobsters, lighthouses, old salts. All with clocks in their middles or light bulbs coming out of their heads.
Goodwill here is full of nautical and sea-themed gift shop items. Lobsters, lighthouses, old salts. All with clocks in their middles or light bulbs coming out of their heads.

Contrast in textures.

After I've shopped and looked at odd things, I begin looking for interesting photo opportunities.
After I've shopped and looked at odd things, I begin looking for interesting photo opportunities.

And the circles, they go round and round. . .

Office supply department.
Office supply department.

Stack o' binders.

The more paperless the society, the latter the stacks will be.
The more paperless the society, the latter the stacks will be.

Barefootin'

Plastic toy kitchenware.

Pretend eggbeater.
Pretend eggbeater.

Pleather boot dropping over onto decorative bottle.

End cap being encrouched upon.
End cap being encrouched upon.

A little creepy, no?

I was a0skeered to move the things in front to get a good look toward the back.
I was a0skeered to move the things in front to get a good look toward the back.

Fritz Lang came to mind.

Peter Lorre is so good in the film of this name.
Peter Lorre is so good in the film of this name.

I found out what caused the clinking

The glassware was rattling and chiming.
The glassware was rattling and chiming.
They were doing dramatic things to the parking lot, and the pavement smasher was causing the beer steins and glass animals and champagne glasses to tremble.
They were doing dramatic things to the parking lot, and the pavement smasher was causing the beer steins and glass animals and champagne glasses to tremble.

Last thing I looked at this trip.

I thought, "Is that some kind of cool carboard plahouse the kids can build?
I thought, "Is that some kind of cool carboard plahouse the kids can build?
Yep!
Yep!

Score! Vintage Kenmore deep fryer!

We saw this and both agreed that in our childhood homes, we'd had the same basic model but with the knob and handles in black. I often refuse to buy anything which isn't half-price with the magic sticker color of the day, but this was four bucks and looked in good shape and not just retro-looking but actually retro so I went full-price.

I used to have an electric griddle to cook latkes for Hanukkah, and I found it helpful to have the temperature dial. Also, a few months ago, I tried making hush puppies in a cast iron skillet on the stove top, and I ended up making heavy grease bombs and making the air in our house almost unbreathable as it was too hard to adjust the electric stove burner to avoid smoking up the place while keeping the frying oil hot enough.

Our Goodwill is very gracious about returns, so I kept the receipt and hoped the fryer would turn on when I brought it home and plugged it in. And it did!

Wasn't sure if it was the real thing, but it was!

Love the handles and knob.
Love the handles and knob.
Has the open/close vents you often find on the lids of portable charcoal girlls.
Has the open/close vents you often find on the lids of portable charcoal girlls.
Cool dial!
Cool dial!
Plugged it in, set it at 350 degrees, and yow! Yept, it got nice and toasty quick.
Plugged it in, set it at 350 degrees, and yow! Yept, it got nice and toasty quick.
Source

Thrift store visits affirm all our green values

The permaculture / sustainability concepts move beyond the garden for me. At the thrift store:

1. We donate anything we're not actively using, so someone else can buy used instead of new.

2. When we do buy, we buy used.

3. We upcycle and re-purpose all kinds of stuff we fin.

4. My spouse and I use window-shopping at a free source of entertainment, showing each other lovely things, strange things, and things which bring back memories for us. Much better than buying junk at the mall or the dollar store.

5. Once I discovered the concept of taking digital photos of the items I see while thrifting or wandering around thrift stores, I not only uncluttered but found a new way to express my creative self.

6. We buy from neighbors and Goodwill, keeping the money local and financially supporting worker training and salaries. We never shop at Salvation Army because of their anti-LGBT politics.

6. Many of the gift items we give have been repaired, cleaned, polished, repainted, repackaged, in any way we could think of to keep them out of the landfill.

Our fave place to spend an hour while spending very little money.

Thank you for reading this!

If you love real-talk photo essays and how-to demonstrations, take a look at the people I follow here. I read posts from people all over the world who are enjoying and learning as they develop ideas about companion planting, permaculture, soil and water conservation, and green living.

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